This one has long been on my list of places to try, because it has one special thing I have been meaning to try. Those who know me know that I like things larger than they normally are, smaller than they are typically, and more extreme than they ought to be. So they have this caesar…
“The Score” seems like a hot spot on Davie. I have often passed by and have always seen their patio full when available. Their black and white sugar sugar skull logo was like a beacon marking their outdoor seating area. An area where strung up bulbs and white panels create an escape from the bustle of the sidewalk. But winter was approaching, the patio was closed, and the warmth of indoors beckoned.
The space was kept dim for ambiance, with the bar as the main source of light. Across from it was plenty of seating between two rooms. We were given a large group table in the corner of the second. It was at the end of a long line of booths, closest to the window. It gave us space and those around us peace from our chatter. So big groups are definitely welcomed.
I was captivated by the wall art. Practically each surface was covered with interesting nods to pop culture. Another sugar skull with the name of the restaurant spelled out across its two front teeth. A painting of young boy swallowing a live octopus, with the octopus’ tentacles squirming out of his gaping mouth. One wall was papered with a pattern of thin birch trees, it was aptly mounted with a skull and moose antlers. On another wall, framed works hung: an artist sitting on a throne of brushes holding a paint roller, a human plugged in the back with several jacks, and a woman crouched wearing a gas mask. Though sadly it the light of several flat screen television sets that attracted most of the attention.
The most interesting installation was actually their washroom. The pop culture theme continued into the shared, gender neutral washroom. Two doors labeled with an imagine of a man and a woman leading in to the same facility. Similarly inside, stall doors were labelled with gender specific images of women or men. Though the rule of thumb was, if it had a toilet you could use it. The urinal was clearly marked for male use with a long haired rocker. Even inside the stalls there was fun artwork to look at as you went, like a storm trooper and a pixelated wolverine. I was amused.
The menu had lots of pub favourites like tacos, burgers, and fries; with plenty of variety to keep things interesting. A Brie stuffed burger, a chicken burger with maple Jack Daniels bacon, fried chicken marinaded in a mango hot sauce, wild smoke salmon with cream cheese sliders, and a jerk chicken poutine. And best of all, I liked that this list was rotating, as communicated by the seasonal listing on the top of the menu. “Fall/winter 2015”.
Our large group shared a platter of nachos. The menu was correct in describing this as a “heaping pile” of corn tortilla chips, nacho cheese, roasted corn, olives, green onions, jalapeños, and tomato. Served with guacamole ensalada, sour cream, and fresh salsa. It had more than the basic nacho toppings and with multiple layers of cheese between chips. Set on a wooden plank it was an impressive amount of food for the asking price of $11. And you weren’t even charged extra for the dipping sauces on the side.
The “authentic quesadillas” were three corn tortilla shells stuffed with Jack and cheddar cheese, onion, peppers, and avocado. There was an option of having it with pulled pork, pulled chicken, chorizo, or the ability to mix and match all three. However the vegetarian ordered it with extra veggies instead.
The menu knew how to tempt me, but I had a goal and knew what I was going to have coming in. Checking one off the check list with the “Checkmate Caesar”. This was a 4oz Caesar topped with a whole rotisserie chicken, a mini pulled pork burger on top of a full sized cheese burger, onion rings, hot wings, a Mac & cheese pulled pork hot dog, and a chocolate chip brownie with whipped cream for dessert. The glass was served with two hands, it was that heavy. The final touch, was the spray of canned whipped cream, swirled on to the brownie. It immediately started to melt and drip on to the table without us feeling the need to catch it.
Sundays are for Caesars and there is none better than this one in my books. Just judging on presentation, selection, and cost according to value I was sold. Having it made us feeling like the bell of the ball amongst our table mates. (I definitely recommend sharing this one with a friend or two, it’s a lot of food for one person.) It certainly impressed and sought commemorate photography at $60 a cup. There was so much value in the variety. It was like a share platter, but with its different elements suspend from multiple skewers. As for the actual food, it was good overall, but nothing amazing that we had to have again. It was more the novelty of having it presented like this. The caesar itself was made better with the warm chicken grease dripping into the mix. It made the cocktail more savoury and even more flavourful, if you could get past the splotches of grease floating on the surface. It certainly helped to balance all the pepper used in the brew and all the pepper on the glass’ rim.
The cheese burger was tasty, but it’s patty was distinctively dry. But after a beer or two later, it doesn’t much matter. It was all good, just like the mini pulled pork burger that sat atop of it like garnish. The pork was tasty with barbecue, but dry from an extended wait in the oven. The pork seemed juicier within the buns of the hot dog, especially accompanied by a juicy sausage and tender cheesy crusted elbow macaroni. The onion rings were breaded and fried to a gold brown. They were a good balance between crispy crust and fragrant onion. The hot wings were more mild, but with plenty of meat on bone to keep you satisfied. I preferred it over the rotisserie chicken at the base of the drink. The bird was smaller than most and noticeably dried at its ends. We found the most effective way to eat it was poking fork into bird and pulling meat from bone. And lastly, but much appreciated was dessert component. It was a moist, chewy square embedded with chocolate chips and made further decadent with what was left of the melted full cream. Like I said, the food wasn’t the best, but it was impressive enough in presentation to have me raving and recommending.
For those who can’t commit to a caesar with a full meal this size, they have other crafty Caesars to entice and excite. Snack sized versions of the above: like their chicken waffle caesar, their macaroni and cheese caesar, the caesar topped with chicken wings, or the one with a grilled cheese sandwich cut into triangle. It was all about what you would be getting as a garnish with your clamato. They certainly deserved the full colour menu page that they were given.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I was impressed. Their gimmick was creative and it won me over. They took a Canadian classic and made it all the more indulgent, they made it more fun, and certainly picture worthy. At this point they are known for their caesars, and if the others were as exciting as our masterpiece, they are certainly worth trying during another visit. Don’t deny your cravings.